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News update: For Letting Agents, Landlords & Tenants


Covid-19 Update

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant, the government is asking people to significantly step up and increase compliance with existing protections – such as face coverings, hygiene, home working, ventilation, vaccination, and regular testing.

Businesses are being asked to maximise working from home where possible and to consider whether people who were working at home at the start of the pandemic can do so now. Where there is a business need to be in the office, employers and employees are best placed to understand the most effective balance of home/flexible/hybrid working, through collaboration.

All normal landlord/letting agent activities continue to be permitted including property inspections, viewings, move ins, move outs and safety checks.


New Tenant Hardship Grant

Tenants who have got into rent arrears as a result of the pandemic can apply for the new Tenant Hardship Grant.
The Scottish Government has now distributed a new £10 million grant fund to local authorities which is to be used to support tenants who are struggling as a direct result of the pandemic. The grant funding is available from now until 31 March 2022. It can be used to pay off arrears which arose between 23 March 2020 and 9 August 2021 and the money is paid directly to the landlord.

The loan provides an additional short-term offer that supports tenants to manage rent arrears and help them to come back into paying their rent. Loan repayments will be deferred for 6 months as standard and repaid over a 5 year period. This recognises the continuing uncertainty around the impacts of the pandemic.

Eligible tenants can use the loan to clear rent arrears (a maximum of 9 months of agreed rent) from 1 January 2020. Tenants can also borrow up to 3 months of future rent payments as part of the 9 month total. 

No landlord should evict a tenant because they have suffered financial hardship due to Covid-19 and landlords should be flexible with tenants facing financial hardship and signpost them to the sources of financial support available.

To support landlords, the PRS Landlord (non-business) Covid-19 Loan will be available to assist landlords experiencing interruption to normal monthly rental payments. General guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for private landlords and letting agents can be found here – https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-and-letting-agent-faqs/

Sources of Information:
CLA (Council of Letting Agents – News) & Scottish Government Website

 

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